Ethical Eats

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Winter Butternut Squash Soup

roasted butternut squash soup2


This recipe combines two great things: Butternut squash soup (which happens to my favorite), and a clever way to use produce that is in season. “How can anything be in season when Kingston is currently experiencing a blizzard?!!”, you ask? It’s amazing that anything can overwinter and taste just as great as when it was harvest, just maybe a little more wrinkled. What better way to pay respect to these amazing vegetables than to whip up this recipe?
* The squash, onion, carrots, and apples can all be found at a farmer’s market or store that sources local produce (eg. Tara’s or John’s Deli in Kingston)
1 medium butternut (or acorn etc.) squash
1 small onions, chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 celery sticks, diced
1-2 carrots, diced
2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
4 cups of chicken stock or water
A dash of some or all of the following:
 ground pepper, salt, thyme, oregano, basil, 
more cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice etc…
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
Half the squash, scoop out the innards, and slather a 1/2 tbsp of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon and allspice on each half. Pour a bit of water in the bottom of a square glass dish, place the squash face up, and cover with tinfoil poked with holes to let steam escape. Bake at 400 degrees C for 45 min.
Meanwhile, fry the onion and garlic in in the bottom of a pot until golden and soft. Add celery , apples and carrots, and pour in 4 cups of chicken stock (or veggie). If you don’t have stock (like me), just add water and a bit of salt, or some soup mix from Soup in a Cup sans noodles 🙂
Add spices and ginger and bring to a boil. Once boiling, scoop out the squash and add it. Lower heat to medium and boil for approximately 10 minutes or until squash and apple are soft and it all smells awesome.  Now for my favorite part: Remove from heat and purée in batches!
Eat it with crackers and cheese, or with bread for dipping. Happy eating!
Recipe loosely based on
image from

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Sunshine in a Glass


Everything is turning “green” these days – “green” soap, “green” pencils, “green” paper. Let’s get out of those quotation marks and start literally eating green! Over the past few weeks, with a little help from the internet and a lot of help from my Magic Bullet, I’ve come to be a smoothie addict. What is so appealing about taking beautiful fresh fruits and veggies and grinding them to a pulp you ask? Well, you tell me another way to get a full serving of spinach and kale into my body while tasting like sunshine in a glass. They’re a great healthy snack or breakfast, and super quick and simple to make.

First I’ll start with the basics of how I go about my smoothie concoctions:

  1. Pick two or three fruits that would go nicely together (either fresh or frozen)
  2. Pick a dark leafy green vegetable that seems like it has no place with those fruits
  3. Chop everything into cubes about the size of dice and throw them into your blender/Magic Bullet
  4. Fill the space between your yummy health cubes with water *or there’s an option to add a spoonful or two of yogurt if you’re feeling adventurous
  5. MIX IT UP!
  6. Pour into a fun glass, stick a crazy straw in and enjoy!

Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along my smoothie-making journey:

  • Adding half an avocado makes your smoothie deliciously smooth and creamy (almost yogurt-like)
  • You can buy frozen spinach cubes at the grocery store and add one to the mix to make your smoothie nice and frozen
  • Pineapple and banana are attention demanding best friends. These two overpower anything in your smoothie!
  • Mixed berries are easy to find frozen (and can be found at Grocery Checkout in the ARC) and are a great dose of antioxidants
  • Notice a fruit you can’t pronounce and have never seen while browsing the grocery store? Pick it up! Trying out new mixtures keeps your smoothies fun and exciting.
  • If you’re looking for a big kick of health, try adding in a powder health optimizer, my personal favourite is Vega One – Berry (plus it makes your smoothie extra green woohoo!)

I wish you luck on your smoothie making journey and hope you grow to love them as much as I do!

Find an irresistible combo that needs to be shared with the world? Post it in the comments below!


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Big-Boy Bean Burgers

For the most part I am pretty content eating vegetarian, not only is the food cheaper in general (which is fantastic as a student!) but there’s the obvious ethical component that gives me a sense of empowerment that I am hurting the planet less. Despite these motivating factors to be a vegetarian, I sometimes get a strong desire for a juicy sirloin or a hefty all-beef burger that takes two hands to eat. Enter: Big-Boy Bean Burgers.

soooo scrumptious!

Soooo scrumptious!

Mama gave me a great recipe for some delicious rice and bean burgers that go part of the way in filling the void in my heart left by meat. These patties give you the hearty experience you look for in a good burger, with light earthy qualities from the thyme and a fresh, crisp flavour from the green peppers. Here’s what you need to make the burgers:

  • 1 1/2 cups of brown rice (not parboiled variety)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 1/2 oz. canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 1/2 oz. canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated
  • flour or cornmeal, for coating
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and black pepper

30 minutes Prep – 10 minutes cook – Makes 10
(not including refrigeration, go watch some Shameless in that time!)

Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package, allowing it to slightly overcook so that it is soft. Drain the rice, transfer it to a large bowl, and reserve.

Put 2 tablespoons water and the Worcestershire sauce in a skillet, add the onion and garlic, and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.

Put the onions, garlic, cooked rice, beans, bread crumbs, egg, cheese and thyme in a blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper to your own liking (I usually add way more pepper) then blend until combined. I usually get down and dirty instead of blending, instead opting to mash everything in a mixing bowl either by hand or a potato masher. Add the bell pepper and grated carrot and mix well. Refrigerate the mixture for 1 1/2 hours, or until quite firm. (Rarely takes me that long)

Shape the mixture into 10 burgers, using wet hands if the mixture sticks. Coat them in flour or cornmeal – Freeze the ones you plan on saving for later fun times – they’ll be ready to go when you want them.

Heat the oil in a  skillet and fry the burgers for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until piping hot.

Voilà! Great burgers!

I like to serve on fresh buns from either John’s or Wolfe Island Bakery, sometimes add in a fried egg with cheddar for some added protein, red tomato slices, avocado, and some Dijon mustard!

Cooking should be fun – a chance to break the rules and try new things so take these as guidelines to making great burgers, I rarely follow them directly myself. Other ideas can be using Quinoa instead of rice, mixing in cilantro in substitution for thyme or some jalapeños for a spicy punch.

Let me know what great combinations you come up with!

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Being a Vegetarian (or Flexitarian) in Residence: Part Two

So, what can you eat that’s healthy, appetizing, and filling?

– Every cafeteria at Queen’s has a vegetarian and/or vegan station, and the food is usually better because they prepare it in smaller quantities!

– You can usually find vegetarian food at other food stations – just ask!

– Ban Righ and West Campus always have tofu available as a stir-fry option

– Salads in Leonard! Grab a plate from the pizza station and fill it up with lettuce and veggies, then add tofu or beans for protein

– Leonard Cafeteria’s pre-made salad bar often features yummy, high-protein vegetarian options

– The pizza station often serves whole-wheat no-cheese or vegetarian pizza, but it’s not usually listed on the menus near the door

– When nothing seems appealing, or you want a quick snack, have a banana with peanut butter

– Hummus is a great dip for whole-wheat pita bread or vegetables, and it’s a great source of protein

– Cottage cheese is available at every meal, and it’s high in protein and calcium. Try it with fruit at breakfast or as a salad topper at lunch and dinner!

What to Avoid

– The key to good nutrition is variety, so make sure that you don’t end up eating the exact same thing for lunch and supper every day!

– Make sure that carbohydrate-based foods like bread and pasta don’t make up the basis of your meal

–  Cheese is a great source of nutrients, but use it sparingly because of its high fat content

Where are your favourite places to get vegetarian food on campus?  

– Hannah

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Being a Vegetarian (or Flexitarian) in Residence: Part One

In August, I made the decision that when I came to Queen’s I would become a vegetarian (or at least a flexitarian – someone who eats meat on occasion but tries to avoid it as much as possible). To go from eating meat twice a day to once a week was a big adjustment at first. However, once I got into the habit, and found foods that I enjoyed, it was easy to keep it up. Seven months later, I probably eat meat two to three times per week, when I need to grab something quickly from a fast-food place on campus and there are no appealing and filling vegetarian options available. In this first post, I’ll explore my reasons for becoming a flexitarian.

Why Go Veg?

Reducing your meat consumption is good for your body! (As long as you’re still eating healthfully, that is!) Without meat as the center of your meal, you can make fruits and vegetables the main focus. You’ll soon find that your plate at dinner is more colourful, and you gain a greater appreciation for simple flavours. Immediately after meals, you feel less sluggish and tired. Becoming a vegetarian also has long-term benefits: you reduce your risk of cancer and diabetes, and increase your potential lifespan. Of course, it’s important that you replace meat with protein sources such as beans, tofu, peanut butter, hummus, and cheese (in moderation), rather than simple carbohydrates and high-fat foods. French fries, potato chips, and brownies may be vegetarian, but that doesn’t make them healthy!


Your actions will also have a wider effect, benefiting the environment and reducing the demand for factory-farmed animals. Factory farming is a term used to describe the practice of raising animals such as chickens, pigs, and cattle in high-density environments. Factory farms want to produce the biggest possible animals as quickly and cheaply as possible. Crowding of animals leads to injuries (which often go untreated) and an overuse of antibiotics to counter diseases. The animals are often inhumanely slaughtered and processed in dangerous environments for workers. All of the steps involved in factory farming lead to pollution, destruction of local ecosystems, and wasteful uses of resources. Sodexo, the company which runs the Queen’s cafeterias, has promised to source sustainable fish and seafood by 2015, but their website mentions nothing about the consequences of factory farming or sourcing meat products from ethical sources.


In my next post, I’ll explore the healthy vegetarian options available in the Queen’s University cafeterias. Check it out if you want to make the switch or just reduce your meat consumption by going veg a few times per week!

If you’re a vegetarian already, why did you make the switch? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

— Hannah